Campaigners reveal vision for wild swimming in Waltham Forest

Save Lea Marshes and CPRE London have joined forces to campaign to transform the historic filter beds on Lea Bridge Roadonce used by Thames Water, into a place for wild swimming.

Campaigner Harry Hewat said, I’ve always been shocked by how dislocated this landscape is, with so many barriers and fences that detract from the natural beauty of the area and the ability to roam. This site is the missing piece of the jigsaw. Opening it up will stitch together Leyton and Walthamstow Marshes to the north, the Waterworks Centre Nature Reserve to the east, Hackney Marshes and Middlesex Filter Beds to the south and the river and towpath to the west to create a huge urban park. We’re calling it the East London Waterworks Park!


Abigail Woodman of Save Lea Marshes said, We want people to sign our petition. The site is Metropolitan Open Land and should be returned to the people of East London as a place for wild swimming and a place where people learn to live harmoniously with nature through small-scale food growing or sustainable foraging. It should be rewilded, with the built environment reclaimed by nature in some places and landscaping and planting in others.

Peter Mudge, a local resident, said, Retaining and enhancing the site’s historic structures, including the unusual octagonal sluice building, gives us an opportunity to showcase the area’s industrial heritage.

Campaigner and architect/landscape architect Kirsty Badenoch said, In our time of environmental crisis, chances to protect and reclaim areas of inner-city Metropolitan Open Land have never been more important. This currently under-utilised site has a strategic position within the Lea Valley Regional Park and this is a rare opportunity to reconnect the wider ecologies and provide valuable community green space.

Alice Roberts of CPRE London said, The site is currently owned by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and is within the Lee Valley Regional Park, and we call on Waltham Forest Council to work with the ESFA and the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority to take full advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a unique park uniting Waltham Forest and Hackney.

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Help Make Lea Bridge Waterworks A Wild Haven!

After a really successful community meeting at the Waterworks on 16th September, we are delighted to announce our vision for the Lea Bridge Waterworks site (formerly the Thames Water Depot): a place protected from development and opened up to public access, re-imagined as a place for wild swimming and community horticulture, with the vital habitat along the river designated as a nature reserve and connected to the neighbouring Middlesex Filter Beds Nature Reserve, with other parts of the site left to ‘re-wild’.

To help us try and achieve this vision, the first step is to respond to the Waltham Forest Local Plan:

  1. Write to by 30 September 2019 giving  your name and address. If you are writing from outside the borough please underline that MOL and Green Belt are important for neighbouring boroughs and all of London.
  2. A suggested response short response is set out below. You can of course adapt this or make your own suggestions for the site. If you would like to know more, the consultation document can be found here. A map of the borough’s land protections is here.


Dear Sirs,


Response to Waltham Forest Local Plan Consultation


The Lea Bridge Waterworks (currently Thames Water Depot) should categorically not be considered for development as it is a critical part of the wider area of Metropolitan Open Land and the Lea Valley Regional Park and any development outside of the existing footprint would seriously impact on its permanence and openness.


This site should be protected from development and opened up to public access, re-imagined as a place for wild swimming and community horticulture, with the vital habitat along the river designated as a nature reserve and connected to the neighbouring Middlesex Filter Beds Nature Reserve and other parts of the site left to ‘re-wild’.

  • The existing concrete slab could easily be removed in some areas and to reveal the buried filter beds below
  • A swimming / pond area should be created from a section of the old filter bed, reimagined as a place for wild swimming
  • The site should be re-wilded, allowing nature to reclaim the built environment naturally in some places and replanting and landscaping in others
  • The site should be a space for people to learn how to live harmoniously with nature, perhaps through small-scale good growing or sustainable foraging or a social enterprise or community garden centre like Growing Concerns in Tower Hamlets or Living Under One Sun sites in Haringey
  • It should be a place to showcase the area’s industrial heritage by retaining and enhancing the site’s historic buildings
  • It is a valuable part of the green lung, linking the Middlesex Filter Beds and the Essex Filter Beds and should be reconnected to the surrounding sites. Retaining an area of public hard landscaping would complement the surrounding area.

Yours faithfully,



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More objections to the proposed Ice Centre on Lea Bridge Road

The following objection has been submitted to the LVRPA’s consultation on the new Ice Centre. Feel free to use any of these arguments in your own submission (and see the blog immediately after this one for further arguments).

I wish to object to the proposed new Ice Centre on the Lea Bridge Road.

The LVRPA has given its reasons for wishing to locate the Ice Centre on the Lea Bridge Road in the Minutes to the Additional Authority Meeting of 16th June 2016. This document discusses at length the results of the Feasibility Exercise, which examined the relative merits of the Lea Bridge, Eton Manor, Waterworks and Picketts Lock sites. It would appear that the main reason why the LVRPA has chosen the Lea Bridge site is that it scores higher in the Scoring Matrix than the other sites. The Scoring Matrix is designed to lend the exercise a spurious air of objectivity, by computing a numerical score for each site. But such a calculation can only be as reliable as the values that are input into it, and these values are themselves subjective. As I shall demonstrate, many of them are clearly wrong – some have always been wrong, and facts have changed since 2016 with the consequence that others are now also wrong. For brevity, I shall only consider the values for the Lea Bridge and Eton Manor sites.

  1. Accessibility from existing catchments. This appears to mean: How easy will it be for people visiting the existing centre to visit the new centre instead? It has a weighting of 12. Why such a high value? Why should it matter particularly to the LVRPA whether people visiting the new centre are exactly the same as those visiting the existing centre? Before the existing centre was built (in 1981), there was no “existing catchment”, so any “need” for skating facilities that now exists is entirely a consequence of the LVRPA’s decision to create the existing centre in the first place. As it happens, both the Lea Bridge and Eton Manor sites are similar distances from the same population centres, so they can be expected to attract much the same clientele.
  2. Adjacencies of other leisure uses. The Eton Manor site has a score of 3. The leisure uses adjacent to Eton Manor (which are mainly sporting) are exactly the sort of uses likely to appeal to patrons of a skating rink. It should have a much higher score.
  3. Access by cycle. The Lea Bridge site has a score of 4, and the Eton Manor site 3. The approach to Eton Manor by cycle is much easier than that to the Lea Bridge site. The score for Eton Manor should be at least as high as that for Lea Bridge.
  4. Access by car. This has a weighting of 15, whereas the criteria for access for cycle and for foot both have a weighting of 5. This cannot be justified. The London Boroughs of both Hackney and Waltham Forest have a strategy of prioritizing walking and cycling over driving. Therefore the weighting for driving must be lower than for walking and cycling. It is disgraceful that the LVRPA should need to have this pointed out.
  5. Access by public transport. Both sites have a score of 4. This is odd because, according to the LVRPA’s own figures, Eton Manor is worse served than Lea Bridge by public transport. However, these figures are themselves wrong, as I explain in Appendix B. In fact, Lea Bridge is worse served than Eton Manor by public transport, so its score should be reduced.
  6. Fit on site. The Lea Bridge site has a score of 5, and Eton Manor 4. According to the latest (2019) plan the footprint of the proposed new building has been considerably reduced, so both sites must surely now score equally.
  7. Ice centre and on-site parking. This has a weighting of 10; the Lea Bridge site has a score of 4, and Eton Manor 1. According to the latest (2019) plan the number of car-parking spaces has been considerably reduced, in line with transport policy. As a consequence of the transport policy, the weighting should be considerably reduced. And since the requirement for spaces is now less, the score for Eton Manor should be increased.
  8. Ability for other revenue-generating possibilities. The Lea Bridge site has a score of 4, and Eton Manor 2. This appears to refers to the financial viability of an on-site gym. The distance between the Lea Bridge and Eton Manor sites is about 2316m. Within a radius of half this distance of the Lea Bridge site, there are four gyms (shortly to be increased to five, by the addition of a gym at 97a Lea Bridge Road); within a radius of half this distance of the Eton Manor site, there are six gyms. This is not a significant difference (see Appendix C). So the difference in the competition for gym provision near to the two sites is not very significant. In any case, there are other possible means of generating revenue besides the provision of a gym. Therefore the score for Eton Manor should be increased.
  9. Grounds/landscape constraints. The Lea Bridge site has a score of 4, and Eton Manor 3. It is not clear why Eton Manor scores lower than Lea Bridge. Eton Manor is a fairly barren site close to a motorway, whereas the existing site is close to an SSSI. The latest (2019) plan entails felling a number of mature trees at Lea Bridge, whereas there are no mature trees at Eton Manor. It is also acknowledged that there are a number of buried services that constrain development at Lea Bridge. Therefore the scores for Lea Bridge and Eton Manor should be swapped round.
  10. Impact on business plan. The Lea Bridge site has a score of 5, and Eton Manor 3. This is an example of double-counting, since this issue has already been taken into account under “Ability for other revenue-generating possibilities” above.

Click here to see a copy of the Scoring Matrix. The LVRPA’s original scores and weightings are on the left. On the right the scores and weightings are corrected to resolve the issues described above. Where a value is increased it is coloured red; where it is decreased it is coloured green. As can be seen, the score for Lea Bridge reduces from 933 (75%) to 910 (73%), and the score for Eton Manor increases from 882 (71%) to 953 (76%), as a result of these modifications.

Beyond the Scoring Matrix, much has been made of the idea that the Lea Bridge site can “provide a gateway to the Lee Valley Regional Park” and a “wider visitor offer with its central location and visibility on the road frontage”, and it is claimed that the latest plan will result in “opened up views on to the marsh”. This is absurd. It is proposed that a large building should be replaced by an even larger one. How can this open up views? And why is there a need to provide a “gateway” and a “wider visitor offer” in any case? The marshes are already visited by large numbers of people. They go there to seek isolation from the hurly-burly of London. Any increase in visitor numbers can only be detrimental to that experience, quite apart from the damage that more people will do to the ecology of the marshes. If the LVRPA really feels the need to trumpet its presence to passers-by, it could do so less harmfully at Eton Manor.

Finally, there is another good reason to put the new Ice Centre at Eton Manor. When the Olympics came to London, the allotments at Bully Point were destroyed, and an area of Marsh Lane Fields was fenced off and converted into temporary allotments for the holders who had been displaced. It was clearly stated at the time that this was only a temporary measure, and that after the Olympics were over, the allotments would be moved to a permanent site in the new Olympic Park at Eton Manor, and the temporary site on Marsh Lane Fields would be restored to public open space. But that never happened. The allotments that were supposed to be temporary have become permanent. So the result is that a precious area of open space has been lost to the public. Now is a chance to put right that injustice. If the new Ice Centre is built at Eton Manor, the site of the current Ice Centre at Lea Bridge can then be cleared and returned to open space. That would go a considerable way to compensating for the loss of open space on Marsh Lane Fields.

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Save Lea Marshes objects to the LVRPA’s plans to build a new ice rink

Save Lea Marshes will be submitting the following objection to the LVRPA’s consultation about their plans to develop a new ice rink. Please feel free to use some or all of what follows as your own submission to the consultation, which should be emailed to or posted to by the end of August 2019.

The new ice centre super-imposed on the old footprint of the current centre



To whom it may concern


I am writing on behalf of Save Lea Marshes – a group of local people who campaign to keep the marshes of the Lower Lea Valley open, green and free from development – to object to the LVRPA’s plans to develop a new ice rink on the site of the current Lee Valley Ice Centre on Lea Bridge Road.


The objections can be summarised as follows, and each objection is dealt with in more detail below:


  1. A new ice rink should be built at Eton Manor, within the Olympic Park, and not on Lea Bridge Road.
  2. The land just behind the current ice centre, which will be swallowed up by the proposed development, is home to hedgehogs, an iconic species that is under significant threat.
  3. The LVRPA has not made the business case for a twin-pad ice centre in this location.
  4. The LVRPA has a history of breaking its promises. If the development does go ahead, there is nothing in the proposal to guarantee that the LVRPA will keep its promises to ensure the building has zero carbon emissions and is made of responsibly-sourced and environmentally-sound materials, and the high-quality environmentally-sensitive landscaping is both delivered and maintained.


The marshes are a very special place for a lot of people, for the old and the young, for the healthy and the troubled, and for everyone in between. Far more people find joy and solace in the marshes than will ever set foot in an ice rink. And, of course, the marshes are also home to plants, birds, insects and small mammals.


I would like the land the current ice rink is built on to be returned to green open space. To achieve this, it would be acceptable to build a new ice rink in the Olympic Park. The disturbance caused by the development and by the loss of some of Leyton Marsh will have a devastating impact on those who value the peace and quiet to help them navigate the ups and downs of life. Not to mention the dangerous precedent it sets for the gradual nibbling away of Metropolitan Open Land.



  1. A new ice rink should be built at Eton Manor, within the Olympic Park, and not on Lea Bridge Road


The site of the current ice rink is Metropolitan Open Land and it should be protected from development. The current ice rink should be removed and the land returned to green open space, increasing connectivity between Walthamstow and Leyton Marshes, the Waterworks and Middlesex Filter Beds Nature Reserves, and Hackney Marshes.


Eton Manor is a much more appropriate site for a new ice rink. The LVRPA compared a number of sites in 2015 and decided that Lea Bridge Road was the most appropriate, but many of the reasons for choosing Lea Bridge Road over Eton Manor were, or have since become, invalid. To take some of the LVRPA’s objections to the Eton Manor site in turn:


“as a result of the poorer public transport provision it is estimated that the skating income will be lower at Eton Manor compared to the Lea Bridge Road sites”

The Lee Valley Ice Centre (LVIC) is served by two bus routes: 55 and 56 (the 48 is due to be withdrawn in a few months). Eton Manor is also served by two bus routes: 308 and W15. It is true that the LVIC has Lea Bridge Railway Station nearby, but Eton Manor is served by Leyton Underground Station which is only about two minutes’ walk further away from Eton Manor than Lea Bridge Railway Station is from the LVIC. Furthermore, Leyton Underground Station has far better and more frequent connections than Lea Bridge Railway Station. There is also a proposal to create a railway station at Ruckholt Road, which would be almost next door to a new ice centre built at Eton Manor. And, of course, Eton Manor is reached via fast trunk roads while the Lea Bridge Road is one of the most congested local roads in London.


“a fitness gym is a vital component of the business model. The Eton Manor site sits within a Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park development area which has a significant number of gyms.”

The distance between the LVIC and Eton Manor is about 2316 m. Within a radius of half this distance of the LVIC, there are four gyms, five if you count the proposed 24-hour gym at 97a Lea Bridge Road. Within a radius of half this distance of Eton Manor, there are six gyms; not a significant difference.


“the Eton Manor site currently has 140 parking spaces which are all needed at evenings and weekends; they will become a premium as the centre develops its programme. A new twin pad ice centre will need circa 220 parking spaces but there is insufficient space to accommodate this amount of ‘onsite parking’. Even if additional space could be found it is unlikely that the London Legacy Development Corporation would agree to this land being used because of their policy of traffic restraint.”

Waltham Forest Council also have a policy of traffic restraint and the current proposal for the new ice centre appears to suggest that the existing 140 car parking places at the LVIC will be retained or reduced, so the LVRPA’s previous requirements for car parking spaces have been downgraded and there is parity between the number of spaces available at Eton Manor and the number of spaces available at Lea Bridge Road. The LVRPA should not be undertaking activities that increase car usage anywhere and, consequently, it makes sense to cluster sporting venues at a sporting campus rather than spread them out and encourage more people to travel down the already crowded and polluted Lea Bridge Road. Major events at more than one of the venues at the same time are also likely to be very rare, so the perceived pressure on the existing spaces at Eton Manor is unlikely to materialise.


“continuity of provision is seen as key”

It will obviously be impossible to deliver continuity of ice if the Lea Bridge site is developed, but perfectly possible if Eton Manor is chosen.


“issues related to the Eton Manor site included: … – the blast zone”

It is assumed that this relates to the proximity of the bus depot on Ruckholt Road, where hydrogen is stored. However, it is clearly not a serious issue, because at the Authority Meeting on 25 April 2019, the LVRPA proposed building a hotel at Eton Manor; a hotel with a gym one might add!


“the indicative footprint for a new ice centre on the existing site was within the curtilage of the existing site”

According to the plans released as part of this consultation, the footprint of the proposed development will extend far beyond the curtilage of the existing ice centre and is going to be almost twice the size of the existing building. This is despite the fact that the LVRPA has reduced the footprint of the proposed build between 2016 and 2019. There is no reason why the proposed building will not fit on the Eton Manor site, a site that is far less ecologically sensitive than the Lea Bridge Road site. The Eton Manor site is fairly barren with no mature trees and close to a motorway, whereas the Lea Bridge Road site is close to an SSSI and a number of mature trees will need to be felled to facilitate the development. There are also a number of buried services that constrain development at the existing site; something that is not a factor at Eton Manor as far as we are aware.


The quotes are taken from the LVRPA report number A/4228/16, which can be read here:, and the minutes from the Authority Meeting where the report was discussed which can be read here:



  1. The land just behind the current ice centre, which will be swallowed up by the proposed development, is home to hedgehogs, an iconic species that is under significant threat.


Hedgehogs are a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and data gathered during a survey in October 2016 proves that hedgehogs have made the strip of land behind the ice centre, where the mown grass meets dense scrub and trees, their home. Subsequent anecdotal evidence from dog walkers supports this evidence. This is land that will disappear inside the curtilage of the proposed development presenting us with a stark choice: would you like hedgehogs or an ice centre?


The hedgehog population in the UK is under increasing pressure, with surveys by citizen scientists in 2018 showing that hedgehog numbers have fallen by about 50% since the turn of the century ( Attempts to relocate hedgehogs away from the proposed site of a car park for HS2 and further into Regent’s Park have failed, demonstrating how territorial hedgehogs are ( These two facts combine to demonstrate that the proposed development will result in the eradication of hedgehogs from this part of Leyton Marsh. This is unacceptable, even more so if it is at the behest of an organisation that has a statutory obligation to conserve habitats and species and claims to value biodiversity. The LVRPA should be developing a Species Action Plan to support the population of hedgehogs on Leyton Marsh not destroying it.



  1. The LVRPA has not made the business case for a twin-pad ice centre in this location.


The LVRPA claims that the LVIC “attracts around 279,000 visits a year” and that the “new venue would welcome 557,000 visitors a year, making it financially viable long into the future” ( Where is the evidence that supports these claims?


A detailed breakdown of attendance figures has never been provided, nor has a methodology demonstrating how the proposed increase in visitors has been calculated. The projected figure appears entirely hypothetical and a convenient doubling of the current number of visits, while it is unclear how many of the current 279,000 ‘visits’ a year represent people paying to skate and how many represent, for example, parents waiting around for their children’s classes to finish or people popping into the centre to use the toilets. Local residents with a view of the entrance also confirm that the number of visitors appears to be significantly lower than 764 per day required to reach 279,000 visitors per year.


Data released by the new Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre in Romford would seem to suggest that the number of people actually ice skating at the LVIC each year is at least 70% less than the LVRPA claims. The Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre is in a busy central location near the station, has an ice rink of the same size and a similar number of public skating hours as the LVIC, plus a resident ice hockey team and it claims 76,650 people used the ice in the past year (


It would be tragic if we were to lose irreplaceable green open space to a white elephant.



  1. The LVRPA has a history of breaking its promises. If the development does go ahead, there is nothing in the proposal to guarantee that the LVRPA will keep its promises to ensure the building has zero carbon emissions and is made of responsibly-sourced and environmentally-sound materials, and the high-quality environmentally-sensitive landscaping is both delivered and maintained


This is not the place to rehearse a list of promises the LVRPA has made and broken; suffice it to say that many of us are aware that the LVRPA plays fast and loose with the undertakings it makes to local people if it believes it will benefit financially. Those with long memories will, however, remember the planting promises the LVRPA made when the current ice centre was built in 1981, which never materialised and now enable the LVRPA to justify the current development because the land being swallowed up has, in their words, ‘little ecological value’!


The ecological enhancements the LVRPA are proposing are not dependent on the development. They could – indeed should – be done anyway. However, if they are contingent on the development of a new ice centre, what is the LVRPA doing to stop the contractor they employ weaselling out of its commitments? Even the architect and landscape architect employed by the LVRPA admit that it is nigh on impossible to find a way to ensure the plans they develop are implemented in full. It’s not hard to look a few years into the future and see a very big building filling up a large stretch of Lea Bridge Road, built from a material that makes it stand out and not blend in with the few trees left standing, completely blocking any view of the green open space behind it, surrounded by mown rye grass, filled with carbon-intensive plant equipment and promoting a sport that has come to be seen as increasingly anachronistic in the UK in the age of climate emergency.


This nightmarish vision of the future becomes even more likely when the proposals are scrutinised. For example, the LVRPA’s landscape architect told us that only seven trees will be cut down (five in the car park, one in front of and one behind the current ice centre), but a walk around the building shows that this cannot be true. There are at least four trees directly within the curtilage of the proposed building and it is impossible to understand how the line of trees – including willow, cherry, ash and poplar – to the north of the current building will survive given their proximity to the proposed boundary of the new ice centre. If they are not actually within the curtilage of the new building, it is difficult to see how they will not be removed to facilitate construction. We are similarly struggling to see how the leisure pad will be built within the space designated on the plan while the existing building continues to operate; there doesn’t appear to be room to fit it all in. Mistakes and obfuscations like this make it even harder to trust that the LVRPA will deliver on its promises.


Abigail Woodman

On behalf of Save Lea Marshes


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LVRPA caught misleading the local community AGAIN

Let me explain…

Earlier this week I sat down to review the papers for Thursday’s LVRPA meetings. These are the meetings in which officers of the LVRPA brief members of the LVRPA (councillors who, theoretically, represent the interests of their constituents) on what has been happening over the last month or the last quarter.

The papers for the Executive Committee Meeting contained an item on the proposed new ice rink on Lea Bridge Road. Looking at Appendix A of Paper E/618/19, I was shocked to discover that there are plans to take a bite out of Leyton Marsh to build the new ice rink. Whatever your feelings about the new ice rink – crave it or despise it – what’s distressing is that the LVRPA is proposing to do something it promised it would not do.

The minutes of the Annual Authority Meeting that took place on 7 July 2016 state:

the new ice rink, the temporary ice rink and any associated works will be limited to land south of the northern perimeter of the current ice rink. Nothing connected with the new ice rink will encroach north further onto Leyton Marsh

However, the plans clearly show that the intention is, indeed, to encroach further onto Leyton Marsh.

So I decided to attend the Executive Committee Meeting and raise this issue with officers and members. Perhaps they would consider rejecting the proposed orientation of the new ice rink because of their previous promise? A vain hope perhaps, but worth the effort…

In response to my comments, Dan Buck, Head of Sport and Leisure, said that he and his team have always taken the ‘perimeter’ to be the edge of the land leased to Vibrant Partnerships and that this is further north than the northern wall of the ice rink. Neither the Chair, Paul Osborn, nor the Chief Executive, Shaun Dawson, nor any of the members present said a word. Eeek, I thought, did we make a catastrophic mistake when we secured the promise in 2016? Did we fail to recognise that ‘perimeter’ was open to interpretation, that it could be read as anything other than the perimeter of the building itself?

Knowing that I had another opportunity to speak at the Full Authority Meeting in the afternoon, I scuttled away with two colleagues from Save Lea Marshes and over lunch we discovered the perfidy.

On 27 July 2017, the LVRPA responded to an Environmental Information Regulations request from Save Lea Marshes with a map of the land managed by Vibrant Partnerships. It clearly shows the northern boundary of the ice rink to be further south than the boundary that is now being claimed, only a few metres north of the northern wall of the current ice rink. In other words, exactly where we always believed it to be.

Have a look at the two images yourself. The first image shows the perimeter of the land managed by Vibrant Partnerships in 2017 and the second image is taken from the papers discussed at Thursday’s meeting:

It is clear to me that the boundary of the land leased to Vibrant Partnerships has been moved to justify the proposed orientation of the new ice rink. Yet no one in the Executive Committee Meeting was prepared to admit this.

It wasn’t until I presented the evidence I had unearthed at lunchtime that things began to shift. Dan Buck repeated his earlier statement, that he and his team have always taken ‘perimeter’ to be the edge of the land leased to Vibrant Partnerships and that is considerably further north than the northern wall of the ice rink. But the LVRPA member for Hackney, Councillor Chris Kennedy did, however, point out that this now appeared not to be the case and that the boundary had moved. The Chair then admitted that it had. Both had said nothing at the Executive Committee Meeting earlier in the day.

It’s a known known that parameters change as a project moves through the planning stages but I do call out a public body that makes a promise – because that’s what the statement in the 2016 minutes was – and then denies making that promise; I call out a public body that makes fundamental changes and then denies making those changes; and most of all I call out this organisation for failing to apologise when it gets caught out misleading the people it purports to represent.

We have, however, been here before with the LVRPA.

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Green Blot Awards

We at Save Lea Marshes are often maddened and saddened by the things that happen on or near the marshes. Such precious places should, we think, stay as wild and as unencumbered by the permanent presence of humans as possible.


We are also maddened and saddened by the Green Flag Award. How can the Award be an independent mark of quality when organisations pay to have the green spaces they manage judged and the judges ignore local people who point out that Award winners are failing to meet the Award’s criteria?


So we decided to do more than be mad or feel sad. We decided to launch the Green Blot Awards!


You are cordially invited to vote for the biggest crime against open green spaces in the London Boroughs of Waltham Forest and Hackney in 2018. Voting is open until the end of April, and we’ll think of a suitably gnarly way of celebrating the infamous winner later in the year.


Visit to vote.

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Solidarity Statement with the Stansted 15

On the 28th of March 2017, 15 people took direct action at Stansted Airport. They peacefully ‘locked on’ around a charter plane to prevent the violent (in some cases unlawful) deportation of some 60 people to Nigeria and Ghana.   
These 15 activists have now been put on trial in Chelmsford on terrorism-related charges. If convicted, the maximum sentence is life imprisonment. 
Secret deportation flights take thousands of people from our communities every year. Parents, friends and neighbours are targeted on the basis of their perceived nationality and snatched to fill a flight that the Home Office has chartered. These flights enforce the structural racism of immigration controls. Violence and abuse from security contractors against these vulnerable people have been well documented. 
We would like to make a declaration in support of the Stansted 15 and call for the end to the government’s hostile environment policy, noting that:
1) The Stansted 15 face unprecedented charges for their non violent action which exposed systematic unlawful deportations by the Home Office. In effect, the action intervened to prevent a kind of State terror as some of the people on the plane faced persecution and death if deported (there were asylum seekers and trafficking victims with ongoing claims to be forcibly deported that night) 
2) 11 people due to be deported that night are still in the country with ongoing claims, as a direct consequence of the action’s of the Stansted 15. One person has since got leave to remain. 
3) Charter flights are secret, brutal and are deporting people unlawfully. 
4) People being deported are being snatched from their communities and families without due process. 
5) The public would be horrified if they knew what is happening.  
We stand in solidarity with these brave people and hope the jury will see that justice – in the only true sense of the word – is done. Otherwise the consequences for peaceful direct action in this country are are truly frightening.
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